The New York State Department of Labor has announced a “Cannabis Workforce Site,” which regulators say is a “one-stop shop” for people looking to get a job in the state’s forthcoming adult use cannabis industry. The site also includes information about the state’s existing medical cannabis and cannabinoid hemp industries.
Among the resources is specialized job training through the City University of New York and State University of New York, and through Coursera, an online class program. Within CUNY, the state lists horticulture courses at Bronx Community College, the Science of Cannabis at Lehman College, and a cannabis minor at Medger Evers CUNY.
Under the SUNY umbrella, the state lists courses and majors at Farmingdale State College, Finger Lakes Community College, Fulton-Montgomery Community College, Niagara Community College, SUNY Canton, Stony Brook University, SUNY Empire State College, SUNY Erie, SUNY Morrisville, SUNY Orange, and SUNY Potsdam.
Among the private colleges and universities, the Department of Labor suggests courses and majors at Cornell University, Excelsior College, LIM College, Mercy College, and Syracuse University.
The Department of Labor site also includes more job training resources, like resume and cover letter suggestions, as well as information about cannabis startups, including those that fall within the social equity framework laid out by the Marihuana Regulation & Taxation Act (MRTA), the cannabis legalization bill that former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed last March. The language of the legislation set out the ambitious goal of allocating 50% of all licenses to equity applicants, which includes cannabis businesses owned by people disproportionately harmed by the war on drugs, people charged with cannabis crimes, women, veterans, and distressed farmers.
Meanwhile, Gov. Kathy Hochul included a $200 million public-private equity fund in her budget, which missed its April 1 deadline and remains under negotiation.
Hochul is “focused on providing more than basic business supports and training for our future cannabis entrepreneurs, and this fund will provide direct capital and startup financing to social equity applicants,” the State of the State book noted, as the state “takes meaningful steps to ensuring that New York’s cannabis industry is the most diverse and inclusive in the nation.”
In an interview before lawmakers successfully negotiated MRTA, Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes told Cannabis Wire that New York’s cannabis industry would be “lucrative,” and that she specifically wanted safeguards written into legislation for the future industry, “because there could be a new governor in four years, so you don’t want to put something in place, hoping that the current governor is going to be fair to legacy communities, and then there’s another governor and it goes away,” Peoples-Stokes said. Cuomo resigned amid sexual harassment allegations months after he signed MRTA.
“At the end of the day, things don’t shake out being well-intended for Black people in New York or in America,” Peoples-Stokes said, referring to the language that she and Sen. Liz Krueger fought to include in the final law they co-authored.
The Office of Cannabis Management also announced on Wednesday an upcoming Department of Labor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Career Fair, held on April 7 in Albany, during which those seeking to enter the state’s cannabis industry can learn about openings and apply.